Chapter 7: A happy Wolf Kin
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"Hey Insu," Andrew said after they had finished eating dinner.
"No, I'm not talking to you. You left without me this morning." Insu had been grumbling ever since he had returned.
"Well, then I guess you don't want to see Rah'asu's human form." Andrew made sure to look smug.
Insu looked from Andrew to Rah'asu. "You're up to something."
Rah'asu looked back to Andrew. "So you really think you can do it?"
"No idea but I think it's good enough of an idea to at least try."
"What are you going to do?" Insu looked interested but still angry.
Andrew moved next to Rah'asu and put his hand on her back. "I want to share your and my stamina with her."
Rah'asu looked at Andrew then to Insu. "I think it will work. Will you help me Insu?"
Insu looked at Rah'asu. "You know I would!" And hopped over. "What do I need to do?"
"All I need to do is let Shimeirin take our stamina and put it into Rah'asu. You'll probably be tired after though." Andrew said as he put his hand on Insu's back.
"Do you need my help as well?" Edic asked. 
"I'll let you know." Andrew wasn't sure.
Shimeirin thinks so.
OK, as soon as I tell them, start. Andrew was nervous. This was going to be interesting.
Shimeirin will start with Insu then Andrew.
"OK. You ready Insu?" Andrew noted Insu was still giving him angry glances.
"Will it hurt?" Insu showed a slight hint of fear.
"Shouldn't," Andrew recalled the dozens of times he had done this.
"Are you sure?"
"Shimeirin." Andrew rolled his eyes.
Insu jerked suddenly but soon relaxed. "Whoa. Getting sleepy."
Andrew couldn't feel anything unusual. The only thing that told him that Shimeirin was doing something was because of her emotions. She was extremely nervous and worried. There was also some hope. 
"We need to do this more often!" Rah'asu said. Her eyes held more energy than Andrew had ever seen and her tail was wagging. 
Soon Insu was released from Shimeirin's stamina drain. "Going to sleep now." He mumbled and fell over.
Edic ran over and examined him.
Moments later Andrew felt the energy begin draining from his body. He had forgotten how this felt. Moment by moment he felt more and more tired. He had already been getting sleepy but this was like he was doing hours of labor compacted into a few moments.
Shimeirin thinks this is enough. Shimeirin said moments after the sensation stopped. It had only taken a few seconds.
Good job. Andrew wondered if he sounded tired in his head.
"Shimeirin finished," Andrew said and took his hand off of Rah'asu.
"For once I don't feel tired!" Rah'asu began hopping around and sprinted from one side of the room to another before stopping next to Andrew.
It's good seeing Rah'asu like this. Shimeirin was enjoying Rah'asu's new vigor.
If only it wasn't so exhausting I would be more than happy to do this every day. Andrew was ready to lay down and sleep until noon the next day.
Rah'asu looked at Andrew. "OK, I'm going to try changing."
"I hope your transformation includes clothes," Edic said.
"Insu did when he changed. Not sure how it works but he did." Andrew was glad he had been spared that image.
Rah'asu thought. "I was." She still grabbed a nearby blanket and covered herself with it. Soon the lump under the blanket began shifting. It went from being somewhat wolf shaped to human-shaped.
"It worked! It worked!" Rah'asu jumped out from under the blanket. "Thank you so much Shimeirin, Andrew!" She glanced and Insu. "Insu."
Andrew looked at the now human Rah'asu. She looked to be in her early twenties. Her long hair was long enough to almost reach her butt and was virtually the same color as her wolf form, being dark near the scalp and gradually turned gray until about her shoulders where it stayed the same. Her face was sharp with wide cheekbones and narrow but not too long nose. Her lips were thin and her chin narrow but short. Her eyes were the same green and were very beautiful.
A scar, just like the one on her wolf form, ran from left temple to just under her left eye. Her body was like Edic's with exaggerated length to the torso and limbs which easily made her a foot taller than he was. She was very skinny with tanned skin. Her clothes were made of animal skins and were well worn. Andrew found her attractive but she wouldn't turn any heads. The scar made her look tough even with the stupid smile currently on her face.
Rah'asu is prettier than Shimeirin thought she would be. Shimeirin was ecstatic.
Good job! If she didn't love you before she does now. Andrew smiled. 
Hehe. Shimeirin hopes so. Tell her I said, "You're welcome."
"Shimeirin says 'You're welcome.'" Andrew relayed.
Rah'asu sat next to Andrew. "I think I ran too much." She laughed. "I used to not care so much about my human form but not being able to change in so long made me miss it a little."
"Hey, at least you have the option. I'm stuck like this." Andrew teased.
"Yeah, you're right. And to be so short." Rah'asu teased back.
"Hey, I'm pretty average where I come from." Andrew laughed. 
Shimeirin hopes she stays like this. Andrew could tell from her emotions that she didn't expect Rah'asu to.
Yeah, I always wondered what she would be like if she wasn't so tired all the time. "Were you so energetic like this before?" Andrew hoped her current mood would get her to open up more.
"No no no no. I think Shimeirin gave me a bit too much energy. I just want to run and run and run." Rah'asu swayed from side to side but stood up and looked like she was ready for another run.
"Maybe we can convince him to do this more." If you're fine with it Shimeirin. Andrew wouldn't mind a bit of fatigue if it meant his friend could have some energy.
Yep. Shimeirin wishes to do this lots more.
"I am glad your endeavor worked," Edic said to them. 
"Me too." Andrew was happy for Rah'asu.
"Hmm..." Edic looked like he was thinking about something. "I wonder."
"What?" Andrew watched Edic.
"What else can you do with Shimeirin?" 
Andrew thought. "That's pretty much all I've tried so far."
"Did this Servant show you anything or tell you anything else?"
"He didn't say much. He did revive a nearly dead weed though I don't think that is much different than what I've been doing to Rah'asu." Andrew wished he knew more.
"Hmm, it works on plants too?" 
"I imagine it works on anything alive. Maybe." Andrew was curious.
"I wonder if you can make plants grow faster."
"I doubt it," Andrew recalled his schooling and how living things worked, "but even then I always get really hungry afterward so I'd probably end up eating the extra food grown just to make up for the energy I used." That is if physics worked the same here, Andrew thought. Though there was magic so maybe?
"That makes sense, it was worth a thought though." Edic looked a bit disappointed.
"It might be useful if the crops get a disease or pests." Andrew thought.
"Ah, yes, I think that would be very useful." Edic considered.
"I wasn't thinking of leaving until the day after tomorrow so I want to try it." Andrew hoped he wouldn't tire himself out too much.
"Do you think you will be able to find your friends?" Edic had only just learned about Andrew's plans during dinner.
"Well, we Terrans do stand out so I imagine it won't be too hard if I ask around," Andrew remembered something that had been bugging him. "That is if I can talk to them. Rah'asu and Insu weren't too sure if the humans speak the same language, though they don't think so."
"I'm sorry, but I don't know. I wish I could give you one of these," Edic pointed to the choker on his neck, "but there aren't any extra here, and no I can't give you mine. They can only be taken off by a Servant of Melche or Melche herself."
"Just like how I can't remove Shimeirin." Andrew looked down at the bracelet. Not that I want to get rid of you.
Shimeirin seemed like she didn't mind. Shimeirin understands. 
"That's true. Although, I don't mind. These chokers come in very handy and not being able to take them makes them nearly impossible to steal even if you kill the wearer. Still, I've heard ones being worn get stolen by the servants of other Deity all the time. It's kind of obvious when you spot another priest wearing a scarf or other neck covering. Lady Melche doesn't seem to mind because she and her servants can make new ones easily enough."
"You can't make them?" Andrew didn't think so because he would have offered.
"No. My duties as a priest don't require such skills."
"Can you do anything else?" Rah'asu sat next to Andrew. She was panting heavily from all running she had just done.
"All sorts of things. Priests for Melche are expected to be the best of the best when the magical arts are concerned." Edic said with pride. "Let's go outside and I'll show you." Edic exited the temple and Rah'asu and Andrew followed.
A wolf that looked exactly like Rah'asu appeared. It was translucent and didn't look very solid. "My favorite kind of magic," Edic said.
"Wow." Andrew and Rah'asu said at the same time.
Shimeirin has seen some of Shimeirin's people do that. Shimeirin still found it amazing.
"Can you make a shape of anything?" Rah'asu asked as she inspected the magical wolf.
"If you can picture it in your head you can make any shape although the bigger it is the more tiring it is to keep its form." The wolf walked towards Rah'asu and put a paw on her leg.
"It can touch things too. Hmm." Rah'asu touched the wolf's paw.
"Yes, but if it or something hits it too hard it will vanish. How hard depends on the caster." Edic let the wolf vanish.
"Can you teach me?" Rah'asu wagged her butt. "I know some magic like fireballs, earth shaping, and wind shaping."
"I could. It requires lots of concentration and endurance so it might be difficult for you until you cure your condition." Edic looked sadly at Rah'asu.
"I know but even if it is just something small I would still like to learn."
Shimeirin wants to learn too. Shimeirin was excited.
"Will you teach Shimeirin as well?" Andrew asked.
"Shimeirin can use magic? I suppose it wouldn't hurt to teach the both of you." Edic looked at Shimeirin as if he was considering something. "I think there is a chance I can communicate with her."
"You can?" Andrew felt happy for Shimeirin but also concerned.
"I will need to warn you first. The magic I am going to use is very intrusive to the mind. I will try to not do anything more than speak but I want you to understand what kind of magic I will be using is capable of." Edic gave Andrew a serious look.
What do you think? Andrew was terrified there was magic that would let people invade his mind.
Yes. Shimeirin wants to see if Shimeirin can talk to Edic. Shimeirin was nervous.
"OK." Andrew nodded. "If it works I want you to teach Rah'asu too. I think it would be great if Shimeirin had someone else to talk to."
"I will start." Edic looked at Andrew but nothing else happened. "Strange. It's as if you aren't even there."
"Is it because I'm a Terran?" Andrew felt relieved he was immune.
"Possibly, but you seem different than the Terrans I'm familiar with." Edic studied Andrew. "You're the right size and shape but your coloring is wrong. I've heard all Terrans have white hair and skin. Your hair is brown and your skin, while light still has a good tan. You have also mentioned you cannot use magic?"
"Rah'asu has tried teaching me but I've never been able to." Andrew had wanted to learn magic.
"I see. I'll try teaching you tomorrow as well. Terrans are supposed to have a greater capacity for magic than those of Calorin. If you are not capable then I think you are very different from the Terrans I know." Edic considered Andrew some more. "Terrans are also supposed to have lost most of their memories and have some sort of disability. Your memory seems fine but maybe your disability is that you cannot use magic."
"Do you know how Terrans arrive normally from where you are from?" Andrew wondered if there were differences there as well.
"They arrive in a ball of blue fire. The ball appears from nothing and bursts as soon as it settles on the ground. From what you've told me that doesn't seem to be the case with you." Edic considered.
"Well, the appearing from nothing part is correct. No blue fire though." Andrew hadn't enjoyed that landing.
"It is most likely because you came most of the way being escorted by a Servant." Edic rubbed his chin. He seemed to think of something and looked to Shimeirin. "The best explanation is Shimeirin. Hmm... I wonder. Shimeirin, I think I will try the mind magic on you instead of Andrew if that's alright."
Tell him Shimeirin is OK. Shimeirin became nervous again.
"She says it's fine."
Edic looked at Shimeirin. Moments later he screamed and collapsed on the ground. Andrew and Rah'asu ran towards him. He was holding his head but after the initial scream stayed quiet. 
Did you feel anything? Andrew wondered if Shimeirin had done something out of reflex.
No. Shimeirin didn't notice anything. Shimeirin was worried.
"I'm OK," Edic said after a minute. 
"What happened?" Rah'asu asked before Andrew could.
"I think my magic was reflected at me. The moment I tried connecting with Shimeirin I was hit by my power." Edic sat up and rubbed his temples.
Rah'asu looked to Shimeirin then to Andrew. "Does Shimeirin know anything?"
Andrew shook his head. "She says she didn't feel anything happen."
"I'm not surprised," Edic said. "A servant made Shimeirin so it makes sense they would make her hard to use magic on."
Andrew looked at Shimeirin. It did make sense. "Well, Shimeirin. It looks like no one is reading our minds anytime soon."
Shimeirin is disappointed Shimeirin can't talk to Edic but Shimeirin likes that no one can read Shimeirin's mind. Shimeirin felt conflicted but more relieved than sad.
"If you don't mind I think I'm going to rest for the night," Edic said as he stood up. "I have the worst headache."
"I'm going too to sleep soon too. Goodnight." Andrew was tired from giving his strength to Rah'asu but not too bad.
"I don't think I can go to sleep any time soon." Rah'asu looked like she wanted to run off again. "I think I'm going to going hunting or something."
She ran off.
Andrew was exhausted and went to bed. It took him only a few moments before he fell asleep.
When he woke up the next morning he found Edic still had a horrible headache and wanted to rest. As an apology, Andrew did Edic's morning care for the garden.
While he was doing this Insu left. He still looked mad at Andrew and didn't say anything as he left for the city, but not before making a racket upon finding Rah'asu in human form.
Rah'asu was back to her old tired self and didn't wake up until around noon. It didn't take her long until she found a nice tree outside and relaxed under the shade.
When Andrew had made Rah'asu and himself some lunch he and Shimeirin went back to Shimeirin's house. Here they took some of her toys before looking for more food.
It was about dusk when they returned. Rah'asu and Edic were talking but both looked like they were looking forward for the day to end. Andrew placed more rice and flour in the temple's pantry as well as some crackers they had found.
Insu didn't return until the sun had set. He looked tired but seemed to no longer be angry.
The next day.
"Are you sure you're going to leave today?" Edic was looking better but Andrew could tell he still had a headache. "I could still teach you some magic."
"No. I'm sure. I want to find my friends as soon as possible. I don't trust that Servant and want to tell them what happened here." Andrew tried to feel confident about his decision but couldn't.
"Don't worry!" Insu put his hand on Andrew's shoulder. "I'll make sure he stays safe."
"I'm more worried about you," Rah'asu said. She was still in human form.
"I've heard the non-kin have ways of finding kin. You'll be lucky to be sold into slavery at best."
"Then we can be worried about it together." Insu bent over to Rah'asu. Rah'asu was tall but Insu made her look short.
"I never said I was going with you." Rah'asu looked away from Insu.
"Can we skip the spiders?" Insu turned to Andrew.
Shimeirin wants to too. 
Andrew looked to Insu.
"Not unless you want to climb over the mountains." Rah'asu smiled.
"The mountains sound great." Insu returned her smile.
Shimeirin wonders if Shimeirin can give you Shimeirin's wings. 
That would be awesome. Andrew really wanted wings.
"I'll at least go with you to the spider kin. After that, I'll decide." Rah'asu picked up a small bag and began walking.
"I know you want to come with us all the way." Insu picked up his bag, the biggest of the three.
"Goodbye Edic." Andrew turned to the priest. "Put in a good word to Melche for me."
Edic smiled. "Yes. Good luck on your journey. I'll see if I can stay here longer or come back next spring. I want to hear about what happens."
Andrew wasn't sure how to respond. Would he come back here even if he found his friends? For all he knew it would be easy to return to earth once he found the right people. "Thanks." Andrew picked up his bag. It was mostly his bedroll and Rah'asu's, food, utensils, and Shimeirin's favorite toy, a beautifully carved bird made from wood. He looked back to Edic then to the others and began walking.
Andrew found the trip to the spider kin was much better despite the hike up the mountains. Thanks to the last few days of rest everything was better. He had been tired and hungry for so long it was weird. Even Rah'asu seemed to be enjoying the journey.
Once again the goats suffered.
The group was in great spirits until they reached the exit of the canyon near the spider village. It wasn't long after that they saw a lone spider kin blocking the canyon exit. The exit was narrow enough that it took up nearly the entire path.
"I'm not sure coming back was a good idea." The spider kin stated when they got within talking distance.
"Hey, it's not our fault you built your village by the only way through the mountains." Insu hopped ahead a bit and shook his head.
The spider took a long moment to study Insu. "You look like my wife."
Insu was once again covered in goat skins. "Wh..." Insu looked like he was thinking of a comeback.
Rah'asu laughed. "I just hope she is more intelligent."
He's not that dumb... Shimeirin felt uncertain.
"I don't think you would make a good looking woman, Insu." Andrew tried not to imagine it.
Eh. Andrew... Shimeirin felt like she had thought of something horrible.
Three more spiders came down behind them and one more behind the one in front. "Now, tell me why we should let you pass."
"We want to help against humans," Rah'asu said as she moved to the front.
"We what?" Insu looked at Rah'asu.
"I believe this Terran, Andrew, might be what we need to save the kin." Rah'asu never took her eyes off the first spider.
Andrew was confused. Rah'asu never mentioned something like this before.
Shimeirin is worried. Shimeirin was even more confused than Andrew.
Me too. What is she thinking? 
"You know we cannot trust a Terran!" The spider spat.
Andrew stepped back. Seeing a giant spider spit was something he never hoped to see again.
"I have spent enough time with Andrew that I know he isn't the kind of person to let our kind be slowly enslaved or killed." Rah'asu glanced at Andrew before returning her gaze to the spider.
"We're being killed?" Insu looked surprised.
"Bah! His kind only kill our kind. Not once have they tried to talk to us or show us mercy." The lead spider growled.
"Let me speak to the chief. I think he will find my plan to be worth looking in to." Rah'asu bowed.
"I am already here." The chief said as he stepped from behind a nearby boulder. "I have already received word from your adopted tribe about your plan."
"I see." Rah'asu nodded.
Have they been planning this the whole time? Andrew wondered.
Shimeirin doesn't like this.
I don't either. Though I guess the Wolf Kin letting us escape so easily makes more sense. Andrew had thought they were just thanking him for healing Rah'asu.
"Andrew." The chief looked to him. "How much do you know about what your kind have done to ours?"
Andrew thought. Rah'asu hadn't been open about what the humans were doing. He never pushed it because he didn't want to make her think about it. Insu appeared clueless to the whole thing. "Not much. Just that Terrans kill others to make themselves stronger."
"That is true. Our kind have no hopes of killing a Terran after they have consumed many, so all we can do is hide if one attacks us. We admit the kin aren't blameless but if we do nothing the Terrans and humans will kill all the kin."
Andrew wondered what the kin had done themselves. Do you know anything?
Shimeirin considered his question. Shimeirin heard that the kin and humans have been fighting for a long time. Some kin would steal the humans' food and animals so they got mad a lot.
Ah. Andrew wasn't surprised. There was an even bigger question though, "How can I even help?" 
"The humans will recognize who you are and let you into their walled cities. We want you to let some of our kinsmen inside." 
Andrew did not like where this was going. "And what exactly will these kinsmen do once inside the city?"
"Find out how to stop the other Terrans."
If this was the complete truth then Andrew would have no problems. "That's all they're going to do?"
"Yes, it would be foolish for us to do anything more. We had been able to take care of ourselves until they, your kind, started appearing. If we cannot stop them then all kinsmen will be enslaved or killed." The chief looked Andrew right in the eyes.
"I... I wouldn't want that to happen. So far the Kinfolk have treated me very well and I would hate to see your kind all killed and I hate slavery." Andrew still didn't trust the chief but he made a good argument. It would also be nice having help with dealing with the other Terrans. "I'll do it but you have to promise that those I let in won't harm anyone innocent."
"I agree." The chief nodded to the guards.
The guards all looked at Andrew. The first guard motioned for Andrew to follow. 
Andrew glanced at all of the spider guards. I don't know if I'm nervous because giant spiders or that letting them in the city is a bad idea.
Shimeirin thinks the spiders are good Kin. They always guarded the way to the Winged Kin so we were never attacked by others, which is what my aunt told me. Shimeirin still felt nervous, especially when he looked too long at one of the spider guards.
I think so too. They should hate all Terrans but they gave me a chance. Andrew looked to the sky. Despite his hopes, he doubted things would go well but he was going to try.
No one spoke for the next hour or so as the spiders guided them around where Andrew was sure the spider kin village was. Andrew wondered if the spiders would stay with them most of the way to the nearest human city but eventually they wordlessly disappeared into the forest.
"I can't believe they wouldn't let us see their village," Insu said with a huff as soon as the last spider left. "I wanted to see if they lived in giant spider webs or had wrapped up prey hanging everywhere."
Andrew shivered at the thought. "You can do that when you're alone."
Please tell Insu to stop. Shimeirin said.
"I'm just glad they gave us more food." Rah'asu happily patted her bag.
Insu looked inside one of the bags the spider kin had given them. "I wonder if they suck their food dry."
Andrew looked inside his bag again. Inside was jerky and some vegetables. "This jerky kinda looks like it has been sucked dry."
"It does!" Insu pulled out a piece and sniffed it. "At least it smells good."
"Still not as good as fresh meat." Insu sniffed at her bag.
"On earth we have peppered and teriyaki jerky. Pretty good." Andrew thought about the few times he had eaten jerky. The stuff was just too expensive.
"Teriyaki? Peppered?" Insu looked curiously at Andrew.
Andrew realized he had used the English words. "Ah, just different kinds of flavors. I can't think of anything here that tastes like them."
"I would like to try them." Insu nodded.
"It's got to be better than this." Rah'asu put her new bag of food back inside her other bag.
"I think so." Andrew put his bag away as well.
Shimeirin wants Andrew to dream about eating Te yi yaki and pep ahd jerky tonight.
Can you even taste things in dreams? Andrew was genuinely curious.
Shimeirin wants to find out. 
I guess there's a chance I'll have a dream about jerky now that I'm thinking about it. Andrew never would have imagined he would ever want to dream about jerky.
Jerky. Te i yaki. Pep ah. Jerky... Shimeirin said periodically for the rest of the day as they walked.